Pesto is probably one of the easiest and most versatile ways to elevate any dish, not to mention it’s always bursting with an absolutely fresh herby flavour. With McGill Student Housing and Hospitality Services’ herb-themed Local Food Days just around the corner, it is only fitting that McGill’s Executive Chef, Oliver de Volpi shares a pesto recipe that will uplift your soups, salads, fish, meats and so much more.
Yield: Makes approximately 1 cup
▪ 2 garlic cloves, minced
▪ 1 cup fresh basil leaves
▪ 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
▪ 1/2 cup chopped fresh oregano
▪ 1/4 cup fresh thyme
▪ 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
▪ 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
▪ 1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
▪ 3/4 cup olive oil
Combine the basil, the parsley, the oregano and the thyme in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic and Parmesan cheese and pulse a few times more.
Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
If you want to keep your pesto longer and put it in the freezer, omit putting in the cheese.
▪ Coat it on your fish before putting it in the oven: Try out our Quebec filet of trout with a fresh herb pesto crust during our Local Food Days!
▪ Mix it in with yogurt to create a fresh herb dip with crackers, chips or bread
▪ Mix it in with the pasta of your choice
▪ Use it as a dressing for your pasta salad
▪ Use it to replace Mayonnaise in your sandwich
▪ Add spoonful over your omelettes to elevate breakfast
▪ Marinate your meats or use it instead of sauce or Steak Spice
▪ Drizzle it over your soups
Meet Oliver de Volpi
“I’ve always been passionate about cooking,” explains McGill Student Housing and Hospitality Executive Chef, Oliver de Volpi.
With fond childhood memories of making fresh pasta with his father and baking with his mother, it’s no wonder Montreal-born de Volpi obtained diplomas in culinary arts from L’Institut du Tourisme et de l’Hôtellerie du Québec and L’École Hôtellière des Laurentides. Over the years, de Volpi’s talent has brought him to lead some of Quebec’s finest cuisines such as the Casino de Montréal and Casino du Lac Lémy, the Queen Elizabeth and the Place d’Armes. Today, he shares his passion with the McGill community thanks to Local Food Days, Culinary Workshops and events like the Tomato Festival.
A proud endorser of sustainable, local food and especially of the fresh Mac Farm produce, de Volpi’s favorite meal honours his family’s Italian roots: “Fresh spinach pasta with herbs and ripe Mac Farm tomatoes! Simply delicious! ”